Two Guys. On a Road. In the Late Afternoon.
Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Just let your imagination run wild a minute. What would you do if you were...raised from the dead?
What if you had been murdered by people who hated you and you rose from the dead a few days later? What would be first on your resurrection day to-do list?
If it were me, I'd probably revel in some kind of Ebenezer Scrooge reenactment, appearing to those who had viciously taken my life impersonating their own ghost of Christmas Future. Or perhaps, I'd make my miraculous resurrection evident in a public arena to vindicate my life and condemn the guilty. Maybe. I might just rush home as fast as my legs could run to embrace friends and family...And then I'd write a book about the afterlife and make the NY Times Bestseller list and millions on a movie deal. Maybe.
I'm actually not sure what I'd do, but I can tell you one thing. I wouldn't be found spending my time walking with two random guys in the late afternoon on a seven mile long dusty road outside Jerusalem headed to some obscure little town named Emmaus. Nope. It wouldn't even cross my mind.
But that's exactly what Jesus did. Luke 24:13 says, "That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem...while they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them."
Did you catch that? That very day! He had literally walked out of the grave as the Conqueror of sin and death that very morning. It was just a couple days before Jesus endured the greatest suffering ever experienced by any human. Brutally executed by Jewish religious leaders, the perfect Son of God chose to take on the sin of mankind, resulting in unthinkable separation from His Father in Heaven. We can't even begin to wrap our minds around that kind of suffering.
It's with this in mind, that when I read Luke's account of Jesus' life, death and victorious resurrection and get to the Road to Emmaus story, I pause for a hot second in the irony of it all. My thoughts go like this: "Wait...What? Why? Why is Jesus walking with these two seemingly insignificant guys on this rural road? Why spend all that time on the day of His resurrection (!), talking about the Scriptures with two obscure men, one of which never even gets his name mentioned in the story?"
And you know...I'm not entirely sure I have any answers. But I do know everything Jesus does is purposeful. And when I sit in the story long enough to ponder the details and order of events Luke records, it makes me smile and even chuckle a bit.
Jesus didn't appear to his closest disciples hiding away in the Upper Room first. After the events we know happened at the empty tomb that morning, Luke writes Jesus manifested himself to two random guys on a dusty road who were earnestly searching for answers. Jesus slowed down on what could have been the busiest day of his time on earth to walk, talk and interpret all the Scriptures concerning himself, beginning with Moses and the prophets. (If I could only have been a fly on the road!) In what could have been a Superbowl victory party, Jesus chose small and quiet. In this, he once again emphasizes what is most important in the Kingdom of God economy.
Why didn't he march right into the Temple and appear to the high priest and council face to face? (Could have been a total mic drop moment.) Or why not parade the streets of Jerusalem announcing his victory? But that's not his way. It's not the way of Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is about humble love and one-on-one discipleship. It's about being small and finding sanctity and resurrection power in simply walking and talking alongside another searching soul. It's about breaking bread together. Opening the Scriptures together. It's about a humble, quiet, slow, mundane day-to-day journey full of a lot of unseen "life on life" interactions.
Yes, the King of the Universe has once and for all overthrown the grave. Amen? He is the conquering Risen Lamb of God! He wins! And yet...as he shows us again in Luke's account, his Kingdom is going to advance here on earth through his disciples who follow His example...his humble "touching a leper, embracing the outcast, washing undeserving feet and walking the dusty Road to Emmaus" example of love and ministry that looks past outward flesh (what the world sees) and into the very heart and soul.
So, in our day-after-day-after-day of quarantine...in the suffering, loss, grief and brokenness all around. When church doors are closed and large gatherings banned. When all the glitter and glam of Gospel ministry, perhaps your exciting ministry dreams and grand endeavors seem like their just gathering dust on the shelf...Remember the Emmaus Road.
Remember how the Resurrected King found it well worth his time to do what many would consider a waste of time. All these small, unseen elements of our days...they're worth it. Slowing down to walk alongside another who the world may see as insignificant and simply point them to Jesus...it's worth it. Choosing the dusty road with one or two instead of an auditorium with hundreds, worth it. We must be careful of how we assign value to Kingdom work. In this quarantine, we've been granted an opportunity to follow in the footsteps of the Master, who has left us a beautiful example, one dusty step at a time. There is resurrection power ready to be unleashed as we commit to obey Christ in all things - both glittery and dusty.
So...if you were raised from the dead...what would you do? If you're not sure, look to Jesus. He's has shown us the way.